School districts in Allen County saw a decline in enrollment numbers this year. According to The Iola Register, the decline was expected in the face of a declining population trend in southeast Kansas. The lone exception was in Humboldt, which saw one more student than last year. The Iola school district dropped by about 40 students, and Marmaton Valley decreased by about 10. An official student headcount was conducted Sept. 20. Declining enrollment is a concern for districts because it means less money from the state.
Police in Independence say a man was found dead in his home early Thursday morning after police were called for reports of shots fired. According to the media release, the victim was identified as 38-year-old Ricky A. Martin of Independence. He appeared to be killed by a single gun-shot wound. An investigation is onging.
Due to the heavy rains this week, Farm-City Days activities planned for Friday and Saturday at Strickler’s Dairy Farm have been cancelled. Farm City Days activities downtown are still on, but some sites and times may change if the courthouse lawn is too wet.
Also in the aftermath of the heavy rains, Allen County Commission Chairman Jerry Daniels encouraged Sheriff Bryan Murphy to research naval assets for his department. The Iola Register reports that Murphy said his department has access to a jet ski, but not a swift-water boat. Such a craft would make it easier for responders to attempt a water rescue.
At this week’s meeting, Iola City Council members studied equipment replacement policies. According to the Register, the issue is a policy in which departments divert a portion of their budget each year into an equipment reserve fund. When enough money has been accrued department heads can then make requests.
The National Weather Service in Wichita has extended the Flood Warning for Allen, Wilson and Neosho counties until 4 pm today. Local law enforcement reported continued flooding concerns. Multiple roadways in the warned area remain flooded and closed. Also, THE FLOOD WARNING CONTINUES FOR THE NEOSHO RIVER AT IOLA until late tonight. AT 8:30 PM last night THE STAGE WAS 19.8 FEET. FLOOD STAGE IS 15.0 FEET. Since Saturday, nearly 7½ inches of rain have fallen in Iola.
High water from heavy rains caused an Iola USD 257 bus to become stranded in floodwater Monday morning. The Iola Register reports that water got into the engine compartment. There was one student on board and she was carried to safety. The bus was towed to a shop, where it will be inspected and serviced.
Flooded roads still continue to be a concern in the listening area. We’ll keep you up to date on any flood warnings, and remember not to try to cross flooded roadways. Find an alternate route.
A word from Thrive Allen County… they site data from the Kansas State Treasurer, year-to-date sales tax collections in Allen County are up 9.7% over the first three quarters of 2017. Iola (up 7.7%), Humboldt (up 10.3%), LaHarpe (up 11.2%), Gas (18.8%) and Moran (up 4.6%). In dollar terms, collections are up more than $226,000 countywide.
There will be a meeting tonight to discuss a proposed new elementary school for Iola USD 257. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at LaHarpe City Hall. Discussion will include posssible sites for the school and what might be done with existing buildings.
The issue of Medicaid expansion in Kansas is once again a hot issue after Mercy Hospital in Fort Scott announcemed that it will close by the end of this year. That comes after Mercy’s hospital in Independence closed in 2015. Proponents of Medicaid expansion say that not doing so is harming rural hospitals. The issue may be decided with the upcoming election for governor. Democrat Laura Kelly and independent Greg Orman support expansion, while Republican Kris Kobach opposes it.
The Legislature passed Medicaid expansion in 2017, but then-Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed it.
The Neosho County Health Department will move ahead with a $67,200 grant after the county commission gave its approval Friday. The Chanute Tribune reports that the US Department of Agriculture approved that amount to be reimbursed to the county for renovations of the Health Department offices in Chanute. A state official helped determine the action could move forward in compliance with the state’s cash basis law.
A word from the Woodson County Sheriff’s office about more scam phone calls. Some citizens have received calls from people claiming to be from the IRS. The caller says that the person will be arrested unless they comply with instructions. Authorities want you to know that if you receive one of these calls it is a scam. Do not follow through with what they are asking, and do not give them any personal information.
A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments October 16 at a special session at Chanute High School. Judges Kathryn Gardner, G. Gordon Atcheson, and Anthony Powell will hear oral arguments in four cases. Two will be heard starting at 9:30 a.m.; the other two starting at 1:30 p.m. Afterwords, the judges will answer questions from the public. They will also speak to students at Chanute, Humboldt and Erie high schools on October 15.
The city of Mildred is set to get a mobile home park. The Iola Register reposrts that Allen County commissioners signed off on the plan put forward by Loren and Regena Lance. The Lances also own the Mildred Store.
A reminder that if you plan to vote in the Nov. 6 general election, October 16th is the last day to register. To register in Allen County, go to the Clerk’s Office at the courthouse at 1 N. Washington or go online to http://www.allencounty.org
and find the county clerk’s page.
The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas announced it will assume ownership of the Mercy clinics in Fort Scott, Pleasanton and Arma beginning January 1st. According to a news release, CHC/SEK expects to employ about 60 to 70 of the Mercy staff and continue to operate the pharmacy located within the hospital itself.